we're looking at Elsie & Arthur, a new startup clothing brand launched only last May by Allie Lawson, 20 and Jack Williams, 21. The pair have spent the summer touring some of the UK’s biggest county shows and fairs and are already reaping the rewards of their hard work,
With so much going for them here's an insight on how the pair set up and market their business:
Tell me a bit about Elsie & Arthur:
Elsie & Arthur is set up and run by us - two final year university students at Cardiff University. We’re both from Devon, and we both had similar ideas about the brand we wanted to create, which we feel is focused on the values of high quality, value for money, and the idea of tradition.
We started developing the brand in February and we officially launched in May (online), so we’re about six months old at the moment.
Why did you choose the name Elsie and Arthur?
The name Elsie & Arthur is named after Allie’s grandparents. We wanted to stay within the theme of tradition, hence the name and the penny farthing logo. We think this traditional theme fits in with our core values of quality, price, etc.
I see that you secured a loan from the School for Start Ups – congratulations! What do you think about crowd-funding as an alternative way of gaining funding for a project?
We secured a loan through School for Start Ups and it was actually an incredibly easy way of getting the funding we needed, so I’d highly recommend it for anyone sure that they want to commit financially.
We did consider using a crowd-funding source, but we were actually rejected by the one that we applied to be featured on, and it put us off. It seems a much harder way of getting money, especially if you don’t have a proto-type first to show. It’s potentially something we could consider if we were looking for investment to expand, but I’m a big fan of the launcher loans that School for Startups / Start Up Loans Company offer.
Marketing Elsie & Arthur -
What’s your favourite way of marketing the brand?
I’m a big fan of Twitter because it’s an open door to a mass audience. It’s easy enough to target specific people, either by looking at who they are following, or finding people by area.
What’s been your biggest marketing challenge so far?
Finding balanced ways to advertise. I’ve used Twitter and Facebook’s official advertising tools, but I’m not sure how effective they are in relation to how much they cost. Advertising is always a risk, especially when you aren’t sure how it’s going to work out, and whether it’s a productive use of money.
What would your best piece of advice be to anyone looking to launch a startup business?
Spend time doing market research, and ask yourself if you really believe it can work. I’d recommend talking to other people, from people in business to family members. If everyone is expressing doubt, it’s possibly for a good reason. It’s worth taking a risk, but it has to be a calculated one.
How important are real-world relationships in supporting what you do online?
I think it really depends on who the relationships are with. It’s all about effective communication, and you can get a lot from chatting to people face-to-face. I deal with the majority of customers online or through email, but I make sure that it’s clear what I mean at all times.
Can you describe what you think of the following social sites in one word each in how they help your business:
- Facebook – promotional
- Twitter – effective
- LinkedIn – irrelevant (in business, not career-wise)
- Pinterest - upcoming
The online world is still fast developing - Are you able to keep up with everything that’s happening?
We still need to look at Google+ and Instagram, but at the moment Twitter and Facebook are very effective. I think it’s just a case of taking the time to build up brand recognition.
Finally…What have we got to look forward to for the year ahead?
Hopefully another collection in the spring, and lots of events and shows during the summer!
Thanks to Allie and Jack for their answers! If you want to see more then head over to www.elsieandarthur.co.uk, tweet them @Elsie&Arthur or catch up with them at one of next years shows.